A preview of the unpublished book A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT A VISION WILL PERISH: AN INDEPENDENT SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH by David Willis. CHAPTER 1: INDIFFERENCE (Part 39). The following is a continuation of the keynote address given by James D. Wolfensohn, President, The World Bank Group at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, in Washington, D.C. on March 6, 2002, with the title “A Partnership for Development and Peace”.
Stability for our economies
If we want to build long-term peace, if we want stability for our economies, if we want growth opportunities in the years ahead, if we want to build that better and safer world, fighting poverty must be part of national and international security. I do not underestimate the challenge of securing an extra $50 billion for development. But I know, as do many others, that this is the place to put our money. The conquest of poverty is indeed the quest for peace.
The debates are: Let’s have effectiveness
We must not let our mission be clouded by debates on which there is no disagreement. The debates are: Let’s have effectiveness. Let’s have productivity. Let’s ensure that money is well spent. Let’s ensure that programs and projects are not corrupt. Let’s ensure that women are given an important place in the development process. Let’s ensure that issues are locally owned. Let’s use all the instruments at our disposal – grants, loans, and guarantees. These are not issues for debate. They are issues on which the principles are all agreed. These are not issues to hold up action. These are issues on which we can all close ranks and move forward.
Military solutions to terror are not enough
Time is not on our side. But perhaps, for once, public opinion is. There are those that say, you will never get support for extra aid in a climate of economic recession and budget cuts. You will never persuade people to look beyond their pocket books. I for one do not believe it. I have seen people at their best and at their least selfish in difficult times. And I believe there is a sea change since September 11th. People everywhere are beginning to recognize:
That military solutions to terror are not enough …
That people must be given hope …
That we must build an inclusive global community …
That we must make globalization stand for common humanity, not for commercial brands or competitive advantage.
Addressing the gap between rich and poor should top the international agenda
The understanding is growing. Three months ago a poll of 23,000 people in 25 countries showed overwhelming support for the view that fighting poverty and addressing the gap between rich and poor should top the international agenda.
for centuries, we have focused on issues of war and peace. We have built armies and honed strategies. Today we fight a different kind of war in a different kind of world. A world where violence does not stop at borders; a world where communications sheds welcome light on global inequalities; where what happens in one part of the world affects another. Inclusion, a sense of equity, empowerment, anti-corruption: These must be our weapons of the future. I believe we have a greater chance today, than perhaps at any time in the last 50 years, to win that war and forge that new partnership for peace.
We must change the mindsets that build walls
Together we must promote understanding that policy can no longer exist in tidy boxes labeled foreign and domestic, home and away – squirreling away 0.1% or 0.24% of GDP on aid. Together we must persuade finance ministers that when they discuss their budgets, together with defense and domestic spending, they must give equal weight to international spending. But we must go further. We must change the mindsets that build walls.
We must educate our children to be global citizens
Across the world, we must educate our children to be global citizens with global responsibilities. We must celebrate diversity, not fear it. We must build curricula around understanding, not suspicion; around inclusion, not hate. We must tell our children to dare to be different – international, intercultural, interactive, global. We must do better with the next generation than we have done with our own.
You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply
Let me end, as I began, with the words of Woodrow Wilson – words that reach out across cultural and national divides: “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget that errand.”